Making Sure We Don’t Forget Nature With Project Noah
The last twenty years have seen an explosion of technology that is hard to ignore. In our haste to adopt these tools we tend to overlook who and what we are and where we all live. We are slowly forgetting the outside world and choosing the screen on our monitors as the portal to the world outside of our homes. The term “Nature Deficit Disorder” definitely applies to the majority of city dwellers in metropolises across the world. Using this same technology to engage children and adults so they don’t forget their environment and the significance of keeping it protected is a worthwhile effort.
What Is Project Noah
Project Noah short for “Networked Organisms and Habitats” wants to inspire and plant the seed of curiosity and adventure to a new generation and rekindle it for those who have forgotten their love of nature. Using digital tools such as smart phones and cameras anyone can capture a wildlife image, post it so you can identify it and share it with everyone around the world. As the founders of Project Noah said, “the purpose of the project is to mobilize nature lovers.” It started as an app to give people the opportunity to share their nature sightings where ever they went and now it is being used by amateurs and experts alike around the world.
To get started you need to sign in using online accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, Google and others. When you login you will have your own dashboard called “My Noah.” On this dashboard you will be able to upload your images, keep track of your spotting and look at what has been posted by other users in real time. The project has an iPhone and Android apps so you can connect on the go anywhere to upload your spotting.
One of the many goals of this project is to help people understand their environment and one of the ways you can do this is by identifying all the living creatures you share your habitat with. If you spot something and have no idea what it is you can post the picture and ask the community on Project Noah to help you identify it.
This project was initiated out of the Interactive Telecommunications Program in NYU in 2010 hoping to encourage people to reconnect and document nature and local wildlife. They wanted to use the popularity of smart phones to collect information about the global biodiversity and at the same time raise awareness on the importance of preservation. After some encouragement and help with their design from Startl and IDEO they won the Breakthrough in Mobile Learning prize from Joan Ganz Cooney Center. They used the $50,000 prize money to improve their software which resulted in getting additional funding from National Geographic. The founders include molecular biologist, bioinformatics, software developers, photographers and kids at heart who want to encourage everyone to stay curious for as long as you can.
The world you live in becomes bigger when you start exploring your environment and what you take for granted suddenly has more weight and relevance not only in your life but the people you share it with. This group also proves you can use your technological background to create startups that truly benefits everyone.